Belstaff’s Spring/Summer 17 Men’s collection is inspired by Bruce Brown’s seminal 1971 motorcycle film, On Any Sunday, starring Steve McQueen. Like the film, the collection celebrates the carefree attitude of the guys and girls from on and off the bike tracks. Referencing the sun-bleached palette of the film, key design references and colours are also taken from Belstaff archive pieces of the same era. Reinforcing and innovating true Belstaff outerwear and leather icons, the Trialmaster, Roadmaster, and café racer are all reinterpreted here.
Colour plays a big role this season, given that in the late 60s motorcycle apparel brands began to experiment with new leather dyes and patterns. This in turn allowed riders to better customise their racing leathers to create recognisable personas on the track and this concept has been replicated in the collection.
“This season we were really taken by the 1971 documentary On Any Sunday which starred and was funded by Steve McQueen, himself a motorcycle fanatic. That period was also a defining time for Belstaff because leather manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic were really embracing this idea of personalising leatherwear and so began an era of strong colour direction which we’ve really tapped into for summer,” explains Frederik Dyhr, Belstaff VP Men’s Design.
Belstaff also included five looks from the Women’s Spring 17 (pre) collection, which takes the same early 70s carefree biker inspiration shown in the film, and features hand-waxed suede, technical outerwear fabrics, lightweight denim and luxurious leathers all rich with subtle racing motifs.
Gavin Haig, Belstaff CEO said: “Throughout its 90 year plus history Belstaff has always been a brand for both men and women, from its earliest female adopters, the pioneering aviatrixes Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson – who wore the brand alongside T.E Lawrence in the 20s and 30s – via Gracie Fields in the 40s, to more recent ambassadors Kate Moss and Liv Tyler. We have always shown men’s and womenswear together in our campaigns and have been working towards showing them together in our presentations. This season felt like the right time to start.”
Belstaff once again chose a very British location for the collection’s presentation: the Queen Elizabeth II Centre opposite Westminster Abbey. The event extraordinarily coincided with another legendary nonagenarian’s event: HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday luncheon was being held a stone’s throw away, along The Mall.
The collection was presented on male and female models, faces new and established alike – hanging around a vintage pick-up truck and bike, in an outdoor setting within a film-set in homage to the film On Any Sunday.
Twelve-time Trial World Champion Dougie Lampkin MBE performed his famous two-wheel routines (bike stunts) between the QEII and Westminster Abbey for the duration of the presentation for the thrill of Belstaff’s guests and the public alike. His late father Martin and uncles Arthur and Alan (aka Sid) – all previous champions and icons of the biking fraternity – wore Belstaff before him and he is proud to continue the tradition.
Sammy Miller MBE (born 1933) – the eleven time British Trial Champion and racing legend from an even earlier generation – was also in attendance, wearing his vintage 1962 Trialmaster (Belstaff’s original four-pocket wax-cotton jacket launched in 1948 and still a bestseller today). Sammy insisted on wearing Belstaff through his three decades of trials and worked with Belstaff to adapt the Trialmaster to his needs. His connection with Belstaff truly sealed it as the go-to brand for the motorcycling community. Belstaff has commemorated Sammy’s contribution to the brand and the bike world in the recent addition of the Sammy Miller jacket.